In a season that has had such highs, and since July, mostly lows, one constant has been Robert Allen Dickey. He has had such a long journey both on and off the baseball diamond to get to where the 37-year old knuckleballer stands today: The best pitcher in the game this year and of course, a 20-game winner.
What a season Dickey has had: his back-to-back one-hitters, his 44 2/3 earned run-less streak, his pure dominance throughout the year, and now in one of his best outings, a well deserved 20th victory on the season.
Using 128 pitches, Dickey shutdown the Pirates yet again. It started off with a 1-2-3 inning for the Mets ace, but ran into trouble in the second. It started off with a RBI double by Dickey’s former battering-mate Rod Barajas, then Jordy Mercer followed up with a knock to drive in Travis Snider and hand the Bucs an early 2-0 lead off the leading Cy Young candidate. Then in the fourth, Barajas once again proved to be a thorn in the Mets’, launching a solo shot to make it a 3-1 Pittsburgh lead.
Then, however, Dickey bared down, and not another Pirate would cross the plate under his watch. Dickey would trek on, piling up the strikeouts, amounting an incredible 13, matching a career high. R.A. would go 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits while walking two and punching out a baker’s dozen, getting his 20th win, the first by a Mets pitcher in 22 years.
Unlike countless times throughout this season, the Amazin’s offense was behind Dickey. Facing a 2-0 deficit, Ike Davis launched his 31st homer of the year to make it a one run ballgame. Then in the fourth, Scott Hairston drove in Murphy to make it 3-2. However it was in the fifth, where the lineup really came to life.
It began with a walk to Andres Torres, and back-to-back singles by Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy to tie up the ballgame. Then comes David Wright, who yesterday broke the Mets all-time hits record, today jacked a three run shot into the bullpen to hand the Mets a 6-3 lead, putting Dickey in line for the win for good.
Things got dicey in the ninth as Rauch served up a two run homer to Alex Presley, making it a one-run ballgame and forcing fans across the globe to start biting their nails and the unthinkable began to creep in. However, Parnell came on and slammed the door, recording the final two outs, the last one a fly-out to Mike Baxter, the same man who made the incredible catch to preserve Johan Santana’s no-hitter.
“It was as hard as its ever been to not get emotional. From the introductions to the last pitch. I certainly wish I struck out that last guy. But we won the game and that’s all that matters. Terry was so kind in wanting me to go out in the eighth, and believing that I can do it. That was special for me too.”
It has been 22 years since Frank Viola won 20 games for the Mets back in 1991, however now R.A. Dickey, who three years ago signed a minor league contract with the Amazin’s as a 35-year old journeyman, now stands, and exceeds baseballs finest and is now one of the leading candidates for both the Cy Young and NL Pitcher’s Triple Crown.
All I can say is, it couldn’t have happened to a better man, one of the games finest both on and off the field. Congrats to R.A. Dickey! He has defied the odds and taken a historically uncontrollable pitch, and commanded it.
What a story, what a season, what a human being. R.A. Dickey.
Teammates Celebrate Dickey’s 20th Win in the Clubhouse
Video courtesy of SNY.